In less than two weeks, Conor McGregor makes his return to the Octagon against Dustin Poirier in their rubber match in the UFC 264 main event on July 10th. The Irishman has had his ups and downs in the Octagon, but his presence truly elevates the game to the next level. Here are Conor McGregor’s top 5 UFC performances.
Dustin Poirier 1
In their first fight at UFC 178, McGregor took less than two minutes to finish Poirier in a featherweight bout. That was a long time ago, and both have come a long way since then. ‘The Diamond’ proved that in January at UFC 257, where he stopped ‘The Notorious’ in the second round to make it 1-1.
At UFC 178, McGregor was at the peak of his powers, bouncing in and out, and using his movement to make life hard for Poirier inside the Octagon. He utilized a lot of kicks to bait his opponent and force him into making mistakes, which he did. Although Poirier was fighting with a lot of rage, it doesn’t take anything away from McGregor, who put on an absolute masterclass.
Conor McGregor’s performance against Eddie Alvarez was arguably his best in the UFC Octagon. He finished the job in the second round, after dominating every second of the fight, and was miles ahead of his opponents in terms of skill that night. And Alvarez is not a rookie by any means.
Alvarez started off with some early leg kicks, but everytime he closed the distance with McGregor, he immediately got hit with devastating left hooks, and barely made it past the first round, as he was dropped twice. McGregor finished the job in the second round with a beautiful combo.
The Dublin native’s accuracy was on point at UFC 205, and that version of McGregor would have beaten any fighter in the world.
Conor McGregor begins hand fighting with Eddie Alvarez, Eddie reacts by feinting a single leg to a right hand, Conor McGregor slides back, evading all of it
and then blasting him with a 1-2 #UFC205 #MMATwitter pic.twitter.com/bocPhE3kif
— Tito NotOrtiz (@KrayT1to) September 3, 2020
It only took one punch for Conor McGregor to beat Jose Aldo in thirteen seconds to become the UFC featherweight champion at UFC 194. Many believe McGregor had beaten Aldo way before their fight started, with his trash talking, and there’s a solid reason to believe it. The Brazilian was furious at the Irishman for his disrespectful remarks towards him and wanted to punish him. It didn’t work out well for Aldo, however.
As soon as the referee asked them to fight, the two men feinted briefly, before Aldo exploded forward with a right hand to the body, and followed it up with a left hook. That is when McGregor countered with a fatal left hook to end Aldo’s dominant reign as the featherweight champion.
McGregor knew exactly what Aldo was going to do, and all he had to do was turn the tables on him.
— UFC (@ufc) October 5, 2018
In his short-notice interim featherweight title fight with Chad Mendes at UFC 189, Conor McGregor tasted a bit of adversity for the first time in the UFC Octagon, as Mendes took him down multiple times in the first round, landing some heavy elbows that cut him open. Although McGregor did enough damage on the feet to win the round.
Mendes was able to take McGregor down again in the second round as well, but the Irishman was able to get back to his feet and land some more brutal shots, before stopping his opponent late in the second round. While it was a comfortable win for the former double champ, he was surely tested. Many people believe the fight would have been a lot more intriguing if Mendes, who accepted the fight on two weeks’ notice, had more time to prepare.
Nonetheless, it was yet another masterclass from ‘The Notorious’ one.
Conor McGregor's beautiful 10 strike combination to stop Chad Mendes pic.twitter.com/sKTWpGAj6K
— MMA Never Die (@MMANeverDie) October 14, 2016
Nate Diaz 2
After losing for the first time in the UFC against Nate Diaz at UFC 196, Conor McGregor made a gritty comeback against the Stockton native at UFC 202. McGregor started off well in the first two rounds, landing heavy shots on Diaz, dropping him multiple times, and busting him open. However, he failed to put Diaz away and slowly started to fade as the fight progressed, with Diaz being the aggressor in the championship rounds.
McGregor was exhausted by the end of the fourth frame, yet he continued to dig deep and survive until the final bell. Given the fact that he isn’t used to slugfests, his fight with Diaz was one that tested his resolve. His performance wasn’t dominant, but a smart and gritty one, and showcased a very different side of the UFC’s biggest star.
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